almost there

That’s it, the rehearsals are over. Not only that, they are over 10 minutes early, thanks to Mihhail Gerts who generously lets the London Symphony Orchestra off the last part of his allotted time. So he certainly has the brownie points, not least because he also paid the players a massive compliment (that I didn’t catch exactly but which elicited an approving, growled “hear hear”).

It gave the orchestra a chance to practise one or two matters of protocol for an honoured guest this evening. Absent, however, is Pierre Boulez. Originally due to attend the day’s proceedings as a member of the finals jury, he has been unable to attend through illness, leaving LSO principal guest conductor Daniel Harding as the sole addition to the panel from days one and two (LSO chair and violin Lennie Mackenzie, LSO principal tuba Patrick Harrild, Mauro Bucarelli of the Santa Cecilia academy in Rome, conductors Xian zhang and Bertrand de Billy, and conductor/violinist Vladimir Spivakov). The only other person, as far as I can tell, who has watched every moment of the competition – apart from me, of course! – is the principal violin of the Guildhall orchestra from days one and two guesting among the LSO’s ranks for today’s round as well. I wonder who she thinks it will be…

As for those brownie points, will they be enough to tip the balance in Gerts’s favour? Or will the panel prefer Chan with her touch of fire, or the all-round assuring presence of Rozen? It’s 20 minutes until the first downbeat…